Sandwich producers need to focus on improving the quality of the bread they use, said experts at the recent Lunch! exhibition at Old Billingsgate.

In a live panel debate on how to continue the growth of the lunch market, Caffè Nero director Paul Ettinger said he thought there was a "huge challenge to improve the quality of bread used in sandwiches", noting that only a handful of bread suppliers were exhibiting at the show.

The panellists also discussed the trend for healthy eating as being of increasing importance to consumers. However, Nigel Hunter, MD, Buckingham Foods said that the industry faced a conundrum: "If you look at sales of overtly healthy sandwiches, they have been in decline over the past few years," he said, adding that the popularity of a product was often linked to appearance rather than ingredient content.

Ettinger added that portion size control was also a trend he expected to grow in the future.